The Death Of Geography
Globalization and the concept of the contemporary world with no geographical barriers are among the controversial subjects. Geographers, social scientists and other individuals are always debating the shrinking of the world as they refer to this phenomenon. This paper intends to analyze the topic deeply by looking at the views suggested by various people in support of the trend. It highlights how geography no longer matters in areas such as the economy, culture, politics, terrorism, and the environment. Nevertheless, the essay will also mention some of the opposing opinions on the same subject matter. Such outlooks include the importance of geographical location to multinationals and other companies as well as the installation of technological devices.
The world has integrated in a way that individuals in the 19th or even in the early 20th centuries would never have thought possible (Murray, 2015 p.4). In today’s world, globalization has managed to affect all areas of our lives may it be political, social or economic. As Murray (2015 p.20) argues, this century has seen many achievements because of globalization. It is now mutual for individuals to work from their homes instead of traveling to the offices. Moreover, a person in American can enjoy the same Coca-Cola soda being consumed somewhere in Asia. Moving from one continent to another will only take a few hours as compared to months in the world without globalization. All these things are possible because of the advances made in the transport and communications technology (Benyon & Dunkerley, 2014, p.22). As a result, due to the role of globalization, geography is no longer essential in the modern world. Therefore, this essay will present the various claims on the relevance of the death of geography. It is also imperative to show the contradicting views to understand the topic better. The analysis of the topic shows that globalization is significant in eradicating the barriers of geography in the world.
The occurrence of globalization has ensued in the elimination of geographical distance regarding economic issues. Both countries and individuals find it easier to perform business activities locally and internationally without worrying about their geographical location (Iammarino & McCann 2013, p. 248). Firstly, before the world experienced globalization, it was impossible for a company to operate in more than one country. However, in this century, there are many corporations, such as Coca-Cola, that are present on all the continents. Many people worldwide enjoy similar drinks from the company. According to Iammarino and McCann (2013, p.249), advances in technology help these multinationals outsource labor, knowledge, and materials globally. Furthermore, the state of the financial systems in one country today can affect financial sectors in nations that are far apart. Murray (2015 p.7) notes the global financial crisis in 2008 is a famous example of the irrelevance of distance in the world. The predicament instigated in the United States nonetheless later became a worldwide problem due to globalization. For that reason, whatever affects a country is bound to have economic implications for the citizens of other states (Iammarino & McCann 2013, p. 251).
Another way that globalization has overcome the problem of physical distance is the common cultural and social practices. It is common for youth in Asia to dress in the same fashion as young people in America. Different forms of technology lead to more interaction between people in different regions (Waters 2013, p. 25). Moreover, even today’s artists produce movies and songs with the intention of reaching the international market. Therefore, they integrate various cultures in their work to increase their international popularity. Activities like sports are also a part of the global phenomena. For example, international fans enjoy European football since they watch it on television. The fans can relate to the players though they have never seen them physically playing on the field (Benyon & Dunkerley 2014, p. 36). Murray (2015 p.27) describes the way globalization makes people feel like part of a large global family as they enjoy the same music as well as television shows and interact with the social media. Besides, the different media channels (radio and television) have hosts who must engage with the audience even though their locations are different. For instance, a person can send a message while watching BBC (located in London) from Asia the same way a viewer from Australia can. All these examples prove that the human race is living in a global village where they have a chance of sharing the same culture notwithstanding the physical boundaries.
Apart from the global economic and cultural issues, the political arena has experienced massive contributions from outside the national borders. Waters (2013, p. 23) argues that political integration proves distance to have disappeared through global political ties provided by the NGOs. Additionally, despite the state sovereignty, some countries unite and form a common body like the European Union. Such unions monitor the economic and political environments of the members (Jones, et al. 2014, p. 162). Due to the progressive communication systems, citizens of a certain country residing in another one can still participate in the national elections. Traditionally, one would only vote if they were physically present in the nation holding the elections (Christopherson, et al. 2008, p. 346).
Global justice is also very popular in the recent years in the nations, which suffer from oppressive political leaders. As an illustration, during the period between 2010 and 2013, the self-identification of people as global citizens played a part in the Arab uprising in Syria, Yemen, Egypt, Bahrain, and Libya. Citizens in Tunisia started rioting against the government in 2010, and the other Arabs learned of the uprising from the media (Jones, et al. 2014, p. 160). There is also the global justice body, the International Criminal Court (ICC), in The Hague. This court charges the leaders who commit political crimes even though their countries have courts of law. Accordingly, even when the state justice systems fail, it is still possible to provide justice both nationally and internationally when the state justice systems fail (Benyon & Dunkerley 2014, p. 37).
Most of the issues confirming that distance is no longer a barrier in today’s world are positive. However, others such as the rampant terrorist acts have harmful impacts on people. Nowadays, terrorist groups have ceased to depend on the locals but have become networks of people with the same agenda of violence (Jones, et al. 2014, p. 163). Without the doubt, terrorism is one of the most complicated products of globalization that is impossible to eliminate. The phenomenon has become so bad in this decade that sociologists are confused about globalization. How has globalization contributed to the rapid growth of terrorism? Days are gone when it would be necessary to travel to a certain region to attend a meeting. Today, terrorists only need reliable communication channels to reach to their members. It is also interesting to note that the leaders of the terrorist groups, such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS, do not have to request people to join them. People who have extreme religious and political ideologies are joining the groups by just accessing the Internet (Benyon & Dunkerley 2014, p. 37). The world can only wait and see whether these terrorist acts will reduce, considering the globalization.
In the past, an environmental pollution incident only affected the surrounding areas (Waters 2013, p. 15). Nevertheless, globalization has played a major role in environmental issues due to the interconnection of nations. Firstly, the carbon emissions from the world economic giants cause global climate changes that influence other nations. Considering the case of the typhoon that hit the Philippines in 2012, most scientists agreed that the pollution from the neighboring countries had a part in it. Christoff and Eckersley (2014, p.6) mention the rapid growth of transport from one region to another as a cause of carbon emissions. Sea and air transport connect diverse areas but transfer environmental contamination in the process. Besides, deforestation is also an environment challenge, which stems from the removal of geographical barriers by globalization. An illustration is the deforestation in Brazil to produce enough soy for export, especially to China (Christoff & Eckersley 2014, p. 7). Conversely, globalization does have not only negative consequences but also positive ones. Due to the severe implications of ecological damage, various nations and companies have come up with research programs to find environmental solutions. Some contribute huge sums of finances to support such programs (Christoff & Eckersley, 2014, p. 9). Such solutions flow rapidly to other regions because of the international trade. Corporations are interested in improving their production processes to meet the requirements of the international community (Sokol, 2011, p. 28).
Despite the opinion that the world is flat because of globalization, some people still believe in the significance of geography. Do the most advanced transport and communications systems mean geography has no place in today’s world? Most researchers demonstrate a different perspective, having presented various cases to prove it. The first is the fact that if geography were not important, companies would operate from any region (Iammarino & McCann 2013, p. 251). On the contrary, it is evident that multinationals do not establish their offices in all areas. They make sure their locations of operation are those with the best opportunities for economic growth (Benyon & Dunkerley 2014, p. 40). Besides, why should so many organizations be concentrated in a few places such as the Wall Street or Silicon Valley? The answer is simple: despite globalization, majorities of people associate these areas with excellence. Equally, the Internet, which is the main driver of globalization, requires physical space (Christopherson, et al. 2008, p. 346). People install optical fibers and wires over large areas to support the fast and effective use of the Internet. Moreover, other sources of information, such as television, use transmitters that must be located in specific areas (Christopherson, et al. 2008, p. 347). Otherwise, broadcasting nationally as well as internationally would not be achievable. It is not much different from the traditional telephones and even the modern mobile phones. According to Giddens (2002, p.15), it is not possible to separate geography from the main communications systems. Geography has always been and will continue being part of globalization.
It is clear from the discussion the argument that globalization removes all boundaries and space is correct. The globalization has linked all the nations together in that a person in one continent is aware of what is happening on another continent. Sometimes it is also possible for the whole world to experience something that originates in one region. For instance, businesspeople have discovered the irrelevance of geography by reaching out to customers irrespective of where they are located on the planet. They do so by establishing multinationals or using the internet to their advantage. Similarly, nothing especially distance can prevent an economical incident from spreading to other nations and continents in this era of globalization. For instance, in 2008 the Global Financial Crisis shook the world following the instability of the US economy. Besides, the term global culture is now common as the human race shares the similar social activities such as sports, fashion, music, movies among other practices. Equally, globalization has an influence on the political world seeing that formation of political blocks such as the European Union is common. On the other hand, even if not worrying about distance has positive outcomes sometimes it has an effect on the world in a negative way. Such is the case in the way it has become effortless to recruit the young people into terrorism and cause terror everywhere. The death of Geography has also played a part in the environment both good and bad ways. Pollution has increased as much as campaigns to conserve the environment have risen in this decade. Consequently, the place of distance in this century is not significant and it presents unfavorable issues in some circumstances.